One woman’s fervent wish for better representation

In GEN’s ongoing series, How I Got Radicalized, writers share that pivotal turning point when they had their “aha” moment. I found Dr. Furaha Asani’s take on Disney’s The Princess…

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I devoured the Cicely Tyson autobiography, Just As I Am, the same week it arrived in the mail. What a life! The takeaways were numerous, but what I most appreciated about her story is her integrity. She decided early on in her career not to take on roles that she felt would not represent Black women in all our multifaceted glory. And when you survey the landscape of roles she portrayed, you know that she stayed true to herself.

Challenging the status quo is never easy for Black women — I can only imagine the amount of intestinal fortitude she…

Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan perform during the Super Bowl LV Pregame at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TW

I know the Super Bowl was a few days ago, and maybe I should be over it by now. But I absolutely could not — and still cannot — understand why the powers that be in programming land had to pair super songstress Jazmine Sullivan with country singer Eric Church to deliver “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Someone else was bothered by it too, and in her latest, Tressie McMillan Cottom breaks it down beautifully.

It would have made more sense to pair Jazmine with a Black woman country singer — there’s plenty to go around. …

That’s why I’ve lobbied so hard to create unique spaces for us

I have been covering the Black experience in America for decades. And it has been my unique privilege, and honor, to use whatever platform I have to uplift the stories by, for, and about Black women.

Living in this skin, I know all too well how often the voices of Black women are simply—brazenly—ignored. And I’ve had more than my share of run-ins with those who believe Black women should be silenced. So when I was given the opportunity three years ago to create a space where Black women could be seen and heard, I leapt at the chance. …

Imagine if you learned that photographs of your enslaved ancestors had been rediscovered in a museum at Harvard. Then imagine how you would feel if someone told you that you have no right to those photographs.

Such is the plight of Tamara Lanier, who has taken on the Ivy League behemoth to secure the rights to the photos, which languished in a drawer out of sight and away from the public eye for years. The daguerreotypes depict women and men, breasts and genitalia exposed, their haunting stares a riveting testament to the degradation our ancestors endured during slavery’s shameful reign.

Photo credit:

Like many of you, I feel somewhat in limbo. I’m not old enough to qualify to get the vaccine just yet, and I’m not considered an essential worker either. So I’m left wondering just when I’ll get my turn at bat. At least I thought so until I read this bit of new news.

This post from sister publication Elemental raises the point that your turn might come sooner than expected. And the best way to guarantee that you’re ready is to take matters into your own hands as much as possible. Remember: you are your own best advocate. …

Photo courtesy of the author

I never considered myself much of a crafts person. I mean, like everyone else, I did art projects in grade school and tried my best to color within the lines. But I never felt an overwhelming desire to create in that way.

That is until now.

Over the last year, I have found my inner artisan, and it has transformed the way I think about the arts overall.

It started with a team-building virtual event that I organized for my staff. We all took a watercolor painting class, complete with a spectrum of hues to choose from. The act of…

Liza Donnelly, famed visual journalist for such tony publications as the New Yorker, has found her happy place once again. She’s sharpening her pencil to capture the new occupants and…

That’s the question Tressie McMillan Cottom poses in her latest Medium blog post. To her, it’s the end goal of a turbulent journey this country has been on since its inception. As she states:

If no one else has mentioned it (or, you missed that day in class), I want to be very clear: Breaking up with Whiteness is absolutely the endgame of all anti-racist, humanist, post-racism work.

I’ve never heard it described in quite that way before. …

Vanessa K. De Luca

Editor-in-chief of @zoramag @medium. Wife, mom, daughter, friend, community servant. Twitter and IG: @Vanessa_KDeLuca

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